San Francisco International taps Burson-Marsteller as AOR

SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco International Airport has hired Burson-Marsteller as AOR. The three-year contract has a total value of $1.8 million.

SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco International Airport has hired Burson-Marsteller as AOR. The three-year contract has a total value of $1.8 million.

Burson will oversee internal and external communications with an emphasis on integrating digital and social media across all programs. This will include website and mobile app development and design, and mixing social media into emergency communications.  

The selection follows a multi-round competitive review that began last September. Following written proposals, the airport called in four agencies for interviews, said Charles Schuler, associate deputy airport director for communications and marketing at San Francisco International.

The M-Line has served as the airport's marketing agency for the past nine years, but it has not worked with a dedicated PR firm in that time.

“We decided last year to split the communications from the marketing contract to give communications a little more emphasis,” Schuler said. It then issued separate RFPs and later selected Burson and M-Line as AORs for PR and marketing, respectively.

Cheryl Heinonen, MD and market leader for Burson in San Francisco, will lead the account. It will be managed primarily by the agency's San Francisco office and its digital and corporate teams.

“We are super excited about it and think it will be a great partner project for us,” she said. “SFO is literally the hub of the technology industry, and we're excited at the prospect of integrating digital and social media across all SFO communications programs - internal, external, and emergency.”

Schuler said the airport is considering creating a “digital hub” so communications has a central information repository. He added that mobile is the fastest and most efficient method for communicating important information. However, the airport recognizes that not all consumers use mobile devices, so it plans to “use the hub as a central resource and find ways to distribute information to those other channels.”

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